The Halloween decorations have barely been put away, and major retailers are gearing up for Christmas. But even though many have already starting offering specials and promotions, Black Friday still holds it status as the unofficial kickoff for the holiday shopping season.

Bargain hunters will therefore likely be interested in how Target (NYSE: TGT) has tweaked its Black Friday plans for 2017. It will open its stores on Thanksgiving from 6 p.m. through midnight, then close them for six hours and reopen at 6 a.m on Black Friday. That's a change from last year, when the chain stayed open straight through.

The retailer will make deals available on its website "early the morning of Thanksgiving, with free shipping on all orders," according to a press release. It also plans to offer customers who spend $50 on Black Friday a coupon for 20% off on a future visit.

"When you consider the breadth of our Black Friday offers, guests can save more across Target than any other time of the year, with literally thousands of deals to choose from," said Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton in the press release.

What else is Target doing?

Shoppers won't have to wait until Thanksgiving for some sales at the retailer. Target will make more than 100 deals available on the Wednesday before the holiday on its website for REDcard holders.

In addition, the retailer hopes to make it a little easier for customers to navigate its stores and find deals. It will again deploy employees to be "line service ambassadors," tasked with directing guests, answering questions, and distributing tickets for select deals. The chain will also post extra signage directing customers toward deals.

"We know that shopping Black Friday deals at Target is an annual tradition for many of our guests across the country," said Chief Stores Officer Janna Potts in the press release."Our hours for this year ensure we're ready with great deals for those guests who want to shop following their Thanksgiving dinner, while also giving our teams a chance to recharge and prepare our stores before we open on Friday."

Let the games begin

Target's 2017 plans really just tweak the formula it has used for the past few years. Expect deep discounts, but not the product shortages that used to be associated with Black Friday. That does not mean items won't sell out, but the chain has generally been very well-stocked on its hottest offerings, with items like low-priced TVs being stacked high in aisles.

In many ways, this is an expected, ho-hum Black Friday plan, but with so many retailers scheduling extended hours and big sales, it's hard for any chain to stand out. Regardless, expect Target to remain a popular holiday shopping destination this year.

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Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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